Welcome to Idol Worship, a biweekly devotional to whoever the fuck I’m into. This is a no-holds-barred lovefest for my favorite celebrities, rebels and biker chicks; women qualify for this column simply by changing my life and/or moving me deeply. This week, I’m sitting down with A-Camp 4.0’s resident comedian, DeAnne Smith.
Header by Rory Midhani
DeAnne Smith is so, so funny. I knew this from simply reading the website Autostraddle Dot Com, but I was totally unprepared for the way it hit me in the face at her A-Camp 3.0 stand-up performance. It was like, who-even-knows-how-long-maybe-an-hour? straight of laughing. Like, no pauses. No gasps for air. That can really change a person, y’know?
I had the pleasure of being recruited to be DeAnne’s right hand for speed dating, which she executed with prowess and in a cute bow-tie. (I wore a crop top and got drafted to date and apologize to everyone who had to try and have a conversation with me without the appropriate three years of getting to know me on the Internet I typically require of folks.) After getting to know DeAnne on the mountain, all of her stuff was even funnier to me – Autostraddle column, Twitter feed, and all. Once you’ve seen her live you really, really get it. You sit there blown away with your mouth open thinking: DeAnne Smith is so, so funny. And completely adorable. That, too.
DeAnne Smith has a lot of accolades under her belt: she’s produced four solo international shows, heard her own voice on the radio multiple times, and been nominated for tons of honors, all the way to Australia and back. She’s seen the world through the eyes of a comedian since 2005, and – as if it couldn’t get any better – she’s CANADIAN. The woman is amazing, y’all! WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO HER PODCAST YET, DAB NAM IT.
DeAnne blew us away at A-Camp 3.0, most notably because of her hilarity and also probably because of her good looks. I came away wanting to interview her and share my typically monumental appreciation for her work with the world, especially because there are not enough nice things I can say about her. And so I set up an interview with her to satiate my need for more packing advice, and also because she’s coming to A-Camp 4.0 to help us take off all our clothes.
Ten(ish) Questions with Deanne Smith
Meeting you at A-Camp was amazing in June. I’ve read a bunch of your pieces for us and always felt like they were really great, so seeing you in 3D was even better. What brought you to Autostraddle, and what kept you around?
Crystal brought me to Autostraddle. She interviewed me a few years ago, so I checked out the website. As I got to reading, I thought, “Hey, these people are really smart and fun and funny! I wanna get involved in this.” Then I did. You can live your dreams!
Aside from your performance, which was obviously the highlight of everyone’s trip to Angelus Oaks, what was your favorite part of A-Camp?
It’s so hard to pick just one moment! (Also, don’t think your flattery went unnoticed.) Overall, I was floored by the sense of community there and how welcoming everyone is. It’s just a damn good time with really excellent people. If I had to pick some specific moments, though, I’d say that Lilith Flair and the Staff Reading were definite highlights. There’s so much amazing talent at Autostraddle! (I see your flattery and I raise you. But seriously.) Oh, and I should probably mention that time Katie, the camp director, kissed me on the cheek. That was, um, like, kinda a highlight or whatever, shut up.
Any spoilers about what you’ve got up your sleeve for camp this time?
Three words: Strip. Spelling. Bee.
You’re a global celebrity. What’s it like traveling so much? Do you check bags? What are your favorite cities to land in?
I travel as if I’m preparing for the end times. The world is unpredictable. You never know what’s gonna happen. Maybe I’ll need to look dapper in a rainstorm. Bowtie and water-proof jacket: check. Maybe I’ll need to block out noise in a cold room. Noise-cancelling headphones and knitted hat: check. Maybe I’ll need to correct some graffiti and then play word games. Markers and Bananagrams: check. My point is, I do not travel light. And as much as I travel, I still haven’t figured out how to check my emotional baggage. That would be amazing.
As for favorite cities, I particularly love Melbourne, Edinburgh and Baltimore. Generally, I’m happy wherever I land.
Tell me about being famous in Australia. I heard you’re a big fuckin’ deal in Australia. Talk to me about Australia. I love Australia.
Australia’s amazing. They have spiders the size of your face. I’ve been on TV a bunch there, which leads people to believe I’m famous. But you know who doesn’t care about this so-called “fame?” The face-sized spiders. They don’t give a shit.
I’m always asking people about their processes – so can you tell me yours? How do you write? How do you get ready for a performance? How do you decide what to wear on a Monday morning?
I’m still not sure how any of it happens. I write my best ideas maniacally on scraps on paper. As for performing, I usually don’t do anything special. If I’m really nervous, I do what an older comedian told me to do before my first-ever TV gig, which is to take a deep breath, exhale, and say “Fuck it.” That’s also how I pick my clothes on Monday morning. It’s just solid life advice!
You do funny shit on the radio, on TV, in front of human beings, and on the Internet. (Most notably, on your Twitter, which makes me laugh on the daily.) Do you prefer one to the rest? Also, how do you do it and why are you so amazing.
I’m glad my Twitter makes you laugh! It’s ideal for one-liners I could never quite pull off on stage. I have to say, though, I am addicted to the immediate gratification of live performance. Oh, and to answer your last question: I think I’m so amazing because I come from an alcoholic family. I have an insatiable need for attention and approval, and an unclear sense of appropriate emotional boundaries. It’s a perfect mix for comedy. Look at me! Love me! You say “amazing,” my therapist says “codependent.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the work that inspires you, and the comedians who sparked your interest in being a funny human? Are there people you find funnier than yourself (I am free to disagree here, for the record) and wish to tell us about? Worship all idols now or forever hold your praise.
Maria Bamford Maria Bamford Maria Bamford.
I wanna bring it back to A-Camp to close on the strongest of notes. So spill: what are you listening to on the plane? What are you putting in your suitcase? Are you the kind of person who checks a bag? Oh, and HOW FUCKING EXCITED ARE YOU.
Okay, you’ve asked me this “Do you check a bag?” question twice now. YES, I CHECK MY BAGS. Are there people who don’t check bags? Who are these people? How are they even remotely prepared for the myriad of potential situations that life presents? I expect everyone coming to ACamp to have checked at least one bag full of underwear, glitter, and feelings journals. That’s what I packed. That’ll be good, right?